Guilt sometimes sets in right after the first sexual encounter, and it continues to build as one lie is added to another. Depression follows guilt and it’s not unusual for a wayward spouse to even consider suicide as a way to escape the nightmare he or she has created. As an act of desperation, honesty is sometimes seized as a last resort, often in an effort to relieve the feelings of guilt. The revelation of an affair is very hard on an unsuspecting spouse, of course, but at the same time, it’s the first step toward marital reconciliation. Most unfaithful spouses know that their affair is one of the most heartless acts they could ever inflict on their spouse. So one of their reasons to be dishonest is to protect their spouse from emotional pain. “Why add insult to injury,” they reason. “What I did was wrong, but why put my spouse through needless pain by revealing this thoughtless act?” As is the case with bank robbers and murderers, unfaithful spouses don’t think they will ever be discovered, and so they don’t expect their unfaithfulness to hurt their spouse. But I am one of the very few that advocate the revelation of affairs at all costs, even when the wayward spouse has no feelings of guilt or depression to overcome. I believe that honesty is so essential to the success of marriage, that hiding past infidelity makes a marriage dishonest, preventing emotional closeness and intimacy. It isn’t honesty that causes the pain, it’s the affair. Honesty is simply revealing truth to the victim. Those who advocate dishonesty regarding infidelity assume that the truth will cause such irreparable harm, that it’s in the best interest of a victimized spouse to go through life with the illusion of fidelity. It’s patronizing to think that a spouse cannot bear to hear the truth. Anyone who assumes that their spouse cannot handle truth is being incredibly disrespectful, manipulative and in the final analysis, dangerous. How little you must think of your spouse when you try to protect him or her from the truth. From “Coping With Infidelity Part II” by Willard F. Harley, Jr., Ph.D http://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi5060_qa.html
To cheat oneself out of love
is the most terrible deception;
it is an eternal loss
for which there is no reparation,
either in time or in eternity.